It’s easy to understand grocery stores are some of the most competitive retailers in the consumer goods market.
With notoriously razor thin margins, limited shelf space, and ever-changing consumer preferences, the grocery store can be where a lot of foods go to die. Especially if those foods require special storage or maintenance due to a limited shelf life.
This is in part why some discount retailers like Dollar General (DG) – Get Free Report have largely stayed away from fresh produce, for example. But as 80% of Dollar General’s stores serve rural or underpopulated communities (populations of about 20,000 people or fewer), it can be incumbent upon discount retailers to serve those communities as a first and last line of defense against food deserts or lack of supplies.
Dollar General makes a major expansion
So Dollar General has been rapidly rolling out its fresh produce inventory in order to service its communities in need.
Nearly a year ago in March 2023, the company announced its intentions to expand its fresh food offerings across 5,000 stores. It aimed to carry at least the top 20 items usually sold at most traditional stores, including:
TomatoesOnionsApplesStrawberriesPotatoesSweet potatoesLemonsLimesSalad mixes
Dollar General claims that the top 20 items cover about 80% of the foodstuff and categories typically purchased at a grocery produce section – as opposed to more expensive or niche herbs and seasonings that might be found at more boutique retailers.
Now, the company says it has exceeded its initial goal 5,000 stores carrying fresh food and plans to continue the expansion. Relatedly, Dollar General also announced it recently opened its 19,000th store in the U.S.
A woman shops in the fresh and frozen food aisle of a Dollar General Corp. store in Saddle Brook, N.J., on Dec. 3, 2011. Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
“We are constantly looking for ways to better serve our customers and one of our top priorities is to ensure the communities we call home have access to fresh, affordable, and convenient food options,” Dollar General executive vice president and chief merchandising officer Emily Taylor said. “We have exceeded our goal of having 5,000 total stores with fresh produce by January 2024. We’re proud to leverage our footprint to meet the need for healthy food options in more communities than any other retailer across the U.S.”
This marks a milestone in more ways than one. Dollar General now says its expansion efforts now make it the largest distributor of produce across the U.S. in terms of individual distribution points. That makes it larger than any other brick-and-mortar retailer, including even a Costco, Kroger, or other wholesalers.
The discount store has also been working to expand its private label, Clover Valley, in stores, which stocks affordable snacks and other food staples, including:
Meals and entreesSidesSauces and condimentsBagged and canned snacks